DevOps

DevOps is a set of best practices that allow for faster, more efficient and more agile delivery of high quality software. DevOps started from the realisation that software development and IT operations teams had fallen into siloes, with different ways of working, different tools, different approaches and different incentives driving them. For instance, whilst software development teams are typically setup and motivated to deliver new features and change rapidly, front line IT operations typically have different motivations around maintaining stability and control over the platform. As stability is most easily achieved by restricting change, this puts Software Development and IT Operations into a subtle tug-of-war. The business, who just want to get their software live as quickly and efficiently as possible, are the ones that are ultimately held back. DevOps is about improving this situation – breaking down the siloes and bringing the two teams together, getting them to collaborate more effectively and adopt best practice from one another. When this occurs, the organisation move from being held back to being enabled through improved software delivery – faster, more efficient delivery, reduced cycle time, and higher software quality.

DevOps = Technology, People, and Process

Adopting DevOps like collaboration is a broad proposition, bringing in technology and tooling, but also people, process, organisational and cultural change. On the technical side, automation of technology is central. This includes the automation to build, test and deploy software, but also to manage servers, environments and infrastructure through APIs and code. Automation brings speed, repeatability and quality whilst still allowing for control and governance. This is particularly relevant in a virtualised or cloud world where good use of agility can give a significant degree of agility in enterprise infrastructure. On the people & process side, DevOps brings in actionable steps towards building an organisation and a culture that is collaborative and delivery focussed, one that is outcome rather than process driven, and one that places more emphasis on personal responsibility by individual engineers instead of heavyweight and restrictive processes. In a DevOps world, the boundary between Development and Operations departments and engineers should increasingly blur. Developers should think more like operations engineers, understanding the production environment and the infrastructure which supports their applications, and what good operations looks like. This should feed through to the development of more operable and maintainable software. Likewise, Operations engineers should begin to work more like developers – using automated techniques to manage infrastructure, test their changes, and automate software release and other processes. As it increasingly becomes possible to illustrate and orchestrate infrastructure through source code and APIs, this is increasingly a source of competitive advantage. Different organisations will have different levels of maturity with regards to their technology and people, process and technology, but what is important to realise is that both technology and people & process need to be in line if we are to achieve the full potential of the DevOps transformation initiative.

DevOps Is Transformational

DevOps is a hugely powerful idea. When Software Developers, IT Operations and other technology stakeholders are working together effectively and pulling in the same direction, it’s amazing what can be achieved in terms of delivery pace and better customer experience. When you add in effective use of automation, cycle times become shorter still and efficiency is driven upwards, all whilst retaining a rigorous and professionalised approach to IT. The end result of this is that the organisation are empowered to get to market faster, to iterate on their software products more frequently, and to ultimately move ahead of competitors through better, more innovative software delivery. Sure, the transformation is sometimes difficult, particularly for large established enterprises, but the benefits are so compelling that every organisation should take a look at DevOps.

  • Benjamin Wootton

    Co-Founder and CTO

    Benjamin Wootton is the Co-Founder and CTO, EMEA of Contino. He has worked with tens of enterprise organisations on DevOps transformation and is a hands-on DevOps engineer with expertise in cloud and containers.

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